When I go to Ace Hardware with my husband, I wonder around by myself
looking at things, then eventually track him down somewhere in the
hardware section looking for odd screws or bolts. I've learned a lot
just by doing both over and over and over again every time he wants to
go to Ace hardware. Now, I can find things for my own projects! HA!
I go in the back yard and there are garden hoses connected to other
hoses going in various directions.
"What's this hose for?"
He says, "I need to water blah blah blah."
"Why can't you use the main hose for that?
He says, "I don't want to mess with dragging it all the way over HERE!"
It takes a fair bit of effort (IMO) to "go somewhere". E.g., a trip to
the library (2.5 miles ea way) is 20 minutes -- not counting the time
spent there. (the closest *large* Ace is across from the library).
It is distressing to "waste" that time and not come home with
<something> crossed of The List.
There aren't that many "20 minutes" in a typical day! If I've got to drive
clear across town (45 minutes) to the oriental grocer, you can bet I'll
come back with a month's worth of <whatever>!
Worse, yet, to have to go back *tomorrow* for some silly little item
that was forgotten on today's trip!
[A friend claims "Plumbing takes three trips" (TmReg); I've learned that
she is basically correct. There's always one little fitting that
you discover you need *after* you've come back from your FIRST trip.
And, something else that you think of -- or manage to BREAK -- after
your SECOND trip! As a result, I have a very conscious goal of
trying to do plumbing jobs in *two* trips -- not yet ambitious enough
to hope for *one*]
My current project is building some floating shelves in my bathroom
using tension rods, and one store will have 2 parts of what I need,
another store will have 3 parts. I threw up my hands and put everything
back because I needed the essential tension poles in the right length
before I could even start. The shelves I needed were out of stock, too.
Today, after searching the Home Depot website I finally found the
tension rods AND the right wire shelves that I need. The hardware to
put it together is at another store (Lowes). Home depot had a package
of C clamps that were the right size and color, but the package also had
a bunch of other screws and wall board anchors that I didn't need for a
whopping $28. I'm not paying that for C clamps. I may run up to Ace
Hardware and see if I can buy the clamps there. If not, I'll go back to
Lowes and get the plastic C clamps they have which will work fine and
they're like $7 for a bunch of them.
I've been back and forth to Lowes several times JUST looking, but that
part has been fun working out what I need and then going on a scavenger
hunt finding the parts.
Home Depot, Ace and Lowe's are each on our weekly "shopping circuit"
(whether we actually *visit* any of them is optional). I plan far
ahead for projects so I can see what components are available at
each supplier *before* I need to actually make the purchase. When the
time comes, I just add the items needed from each place to the
weekly shopping list.
This allows the cost of the "research" to be hidden behind the cost
of other visits to purchase items needed for "earlier" projects.
This *has* worked well. Until I recently went looking for two
cast 3/4" C-F-C tee's: they *were* at the local Ace. Until I
actually needed to purchase them!
Then, I discovered that they were relatively rare. And, the
plumbing supply outlets wanted $35-$40/ea! (about 3 times what
they should have cost). So, I had all the other parts ready
but was now struggling to find these two remaining (essential)
<frown> I can't see how you'd be using a C clamp for anything other than *assembly* (i.e., not part of the finished product)
<frown> I guess different mind-sets. I find all that "looking" to
be frustrating. Hence the reason I try to "hide" it amongst other
I would have been happier if I didn't have to do all that looking for
parts, but I just fire it's part of my time to relax. I like the
details of it all. Kind of like I enjoy meticulously pruning a
rough plant to begin training out for a bonsai. It's almost art to
I'm a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to things that I see as
wasteful of my time. Life is far too short to waste it on
I see "free time" in much the same light as "extra money" (i.e.,
But your actions are yielding *results*, in that case. Imagine you
spent that time trying to find a vendor who sold pruning shears! :<
I need a small, plastic, rectangular box -- about 2.25" on each side,
2 or 3 inches tall. No larger, no smaller. The time I am spending
searching for it feels like a colossal waste! So, I arrange for
that time to be hidden amongst other activities -- i.e., check to see
if each of the stores I *will* visit in the normal course of events
happens to have it, instead of making a deliberate and specific
attempt to locate it (and failing).
I don't know why, but I've always loved the word "curmudgeon".
I can understand that because I feel the same way about life, although
many things that I've considered to be unproductive wastes of time I've
had to file them away in a folder that's titled "for possible future use".
I guess all my searches for parts for this project are the result of
years of watching other people work on their projects and following them
around in the stores when they've been looking for irritating unique
parts. I let them do all the hard work and I got to learn from watching
them before I ever had a project of my own to work on.
This is why I can spend hours in a *real* hardware store! "Hmmm...
this gizmo looks interesting. I wonder what it's INTENDED use might be?
And, I wonder how I might be able to use it for some UNINTENDED purpose?"
Catalog all of these items in the back of your mind so that when you
have some future need, a recollection strikes you and you just have
to figure out *where* you saw <whatever>
I save "vitamin bottles", empty plastic pints from heavy cream, etc.
Part of it is a reluctance to discard something that really has
suffered no "wear" since it was manufactured (i.e., it's just as
good as a container NOW as it was when it was initially filled!).
Part of it is the sameness of them (some special appeal to
having lots of the same thing available -- "sets").
But, there is also the practical knowledge that, invariably, there
*will* be a need for one/many such containers. And, when that
need comes up, hunting for something the correct size will be a
colossal waste of time -- ASSUMING something like it can be located!
E.g., we grow citrus, here. So, the smallest "vitamin bottles" find
use in storing small quantities of *lime* juice that we'll preserve
in the freezer (it's hard to find a use for more than a couple of ounces
of lime juice at any given instant; and, as it's not pasteurized, if
you open a container with more juice than you can promptly use, the
bulk of it gets discarded).
The ~8-16 oz containers (like the pints of heavy cream) are used
to store lemon juice. I drink a lot of tea and take it with lemon juice
so 8 oz may only last me a couple of days. Smaller bottles would be
too numerous (I'd have to take one or two out of the freezer each day!)
and larger ones suffer from the spoilage problem.
Lastly, we save "Motts" applesauce (plastic) jars (the 3lb size) for
use holding orange juice (we're still drinking OJ from last winter).
The smaller containers rinse out well (lemon and lime tend to have minimal
pulp) so they get reused. The applesauce containers are difficult to
clean (OJ pulp) due to their funky shape. So, they just see that *one*
"extra use" (after being emptied of applesauce) before being discarded.
In each of these cases, if we had to *purchase* suitable containers,
we would probably have to do so *each* year (due to the OJ cleaning
issue). And, there's no guarantee that we'd be able to find those
"great containers we got last year" again, *this* year! It hardly
makes sense to juice our own oranges, in that case!
Yeah. I love the idea of using things for unintended purposes.
We kind of do similar things with manufactured containers, but mostly we
save them for family dinners so we can send left overs home with the
kids and not worry about getting the "bought" containers back.
Yup. "Things grow legs" when you aren't watching carefully!
One of the baking dishes that I use for the cheesecake is no longer
manufactured. So, a cheesecake never leaves the house *in* that
dish -- regardless of the assurances I might get regarding "getting it
Instead, I get a piece of cardboard the size of the cheesecake
and cover it entirely in foil. Then, carefully remove the cheesecake from
the baking dish (usually in 6 super-sized chunks) and rearrange them
on the foil as if they were still in the dish. Then, slide the
entire thing into a "shirt box" which I then wrap with saran wrap and
foil. (the box is low profile -- just tall enough to ensure the
cheesecake doesn't touch the underside of the box -- and allows the
saran/foil wrapping to stay clear of the actual top of the cheesecake!)
That way, I don't care what happens to the "foil/cardboard serving tray"
or the box it was packed in!
None of those stores usually are on my shopping circuit on a regular
basis, but since I've been doing these shelf projects that I've wanted
to do for a long time, all 3 stores have been on my list quite a lot lately.
I'm on a mission that I've chosen to accept (just saw the new Mission
Impossible movie), and now I have to find the right hardware to put my
design together - some shelf clamps like this
), some short
metal screws, and some rubber shelf caps.
These are the ones I want to use:
They'll hold the shelf in place so it won't slide up or down the tension
I almost gave up on the project, but after thinking about it some more I
decided to do one last search for the right items that I wanted to use
and finally found them.
I've been to Lowes 3 times in the last week and I'm beginning to find
myself ducking and hiding when I see the same worker there more than
once! LOL I'm going back tomorrow to get the rest of the hardware I
need to do the tension rod shelves.
This is what I'm making a version of:
I can't find fittings that'll work on the tension rods, so I'm adapting
to what I can find. Since I want the shelves to be mounted in between
the rods and accessible from both sides and I can't find shelves like
are in the photo, I'm creating them with what I can find.
I bought 2 tension poles, and 2 of these shelves:
I'm going to cut the tiers into 6 separate shelves, use end caps for
the cuts, put the individual shelves back to back and mount them with
sheet metal screws to the tension rods with the u clips. I'll pre-drill
the screw holes to go all the way through to the opposite side and use
shorter screws so I can do the shelves directly opposite each other.
I'll end up with 3 floating shelves that I can access from both sides.
There'll be a small gap between the shelves that I can either leave it
as is or insert a straight rod and bolt it for support between the 2
rods, but I don't know if I'll really need that or not. I was thinking
of using flat composite crown molding, or just put shelf liner there,
but haven't really looked at all my options. That was just an idea from
looking at different materials that might work.
I had a similar moment years ago, when I was in a
Home Depot. The young male worker insisted on
standing next to me, and reading the shelf tags
to me. I find it hard to think with a kid
interrupting me like that, and I told him so.
Of course, I didn't use the wit and charm that
Trader 4 uses on this list.
Christopher A. Young
learn more about Jesus
I welcome the fact that folks know/recognize me. I don't have to "educate"
a "green" salesperson to my level of understanding on a subject; instead,
they know I will have already "checked the obvious" so any problem that
I present will be one that will be a challenge for them.
How about "baskets" hanging via chains?
The rods appear to be smooth (?) -- unlike the unit I referenced, above,
which has fixed locations where the shelves will engage the uprights.
How do you expect to hold the shelves from *sliding* down the rods?
But the shelves only "grip" the uprights with a friction fit?
You could wrap wire between the back edge of one shelf and that of
it's mate -- effectively "sew" the two shelves together.
It's intended to be "unique". As it suggests, I'll mount a camera
in it (HAL's "eye") and use that to detect folks at the front door
(as well as let me *see* them).
Getting the red glow and mimicking HAL's voice will be the next issues...
I've thought about that, but don't think it would work like I'd like it
to, plus, it needs to be able to hold a plant or two. The rods would
probably be stronger, I'm thinking.
I'll pre-drill holes and use sheet metal screws to attach the shelves
using those U clips, so each shelve will be held into play with screws,
and won't slide up or down the pole.
Not the ones I'm making. I'm using screws. The shelves will be on the
top 2/3's of the rods and I was thinking about adding diagonal supports
on the lower portion of the rods to make it more stable if I need to do
I could do that, and I may end up doing that if I don't find something
else that works better.
Ah, so the shelves aren't "adjustable" -- you are putting a screw through
the clamp *into* the upright; not just fastening the clamp to the
shelf and counting on friction/tight fit to keep the shelf from sliding
down the upright.
There may be some sort of (nylon/vinyl) lacing cord. Sort of like
the stuff used to make lanyards on the "playground" in summer
Correct. I didn't like the idea that it could slip, plus, I couldn't
find proper rubber gaskets to put on the outside of the upright so I
could use a common hose clamp. Hose clamps are a bit unattractive anyway.
I could also use white zip ties and cut them off close, but that may be
a last resort. I'm not sure how distracting they'd be to look at. I like
using zip ties for all sorts of things, but haven't made up my mind yet.
I think a flat nylon/vinyl "lacing" would be effective and "attractive".
Imagine bringing the back edges of two shelves together so the lower
portions are in contact with each other. Then, spiral wrap a flat
piece of lacing all along that back edge -- so that none of the
wire shelf is visible "under" that wrap. Like the way you would wrap
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